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For the first time in 5 years, opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. have declined

For the first time in 5 years, opioid overdose deaths in the U.S. have declined

  • PublishedMay 25, 2024

Florida saw a nearly 8.5% decrease in reported overdose deaths from 2022-2023. Georgia reported a 7.9% decrease. Both higher than national average of 5.1%.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For the first time in five years, the Centers for Disease Control records show opioid overdose deaths in the United States have declined.

It’s a significant shift health professionals and advocates like to see, but want to make sure there’s a continued downward trend.

“We’re happy to hear that number dropped,” said Dr. Christine Cauffield, CEO of LSF Health Systems.

The drop is from 84,000 to 81,000. They represent the drop in overdose deaths from opioids like fentanyl from 2022 to 2023, according to the CDC.

It’s a decline Cauffield said is due to improved access to addiction medication like NARCAN and investment in resources from the State and Federal government.

“We need to ensure that there is access for individuals that are suffering from addiction that they get the help they need and not get complacent in our efforts,” she said.

Helping people suffering from addiction is what T.J. Ward does as Director of Advocacy with Project Opioid.

Through their work of coalition building and offering lifesaving resources and high-level advocacy, he’s managed to reach students and others throughout the First Coast with seminars and testimonials of those impacted by overdoses.

“We’re able to gather community members let them know what the current narrative of the overdose crisis looks like and what they can do to be apart of the solution,” Ward said. “Getting that into the communities and training people on how to utilize it and giving them those tools to be apart of helping decrease those overdose deaths.”

While advocates and health professionals are happy to see a decline in the death toll, they don’t want people to let their guard down.

“We must be cautiously optimistic and we got to stay vigilant because these things ebb and flow and what we are seeing all the time is new variants of synthetic drugs coming into the market,” said Ward.

Florida saw a nearly 8.5% decrease in reported overdose deaths from 2022-2023. 

Georgia reported a 7.9% decrease during the same time period.

Both states higher than the National percentage of 5.1%

“We still have an opioid epidemic unfortunately in this country,” said Cauffield. “We’re happy to hear that number dropped we cant keep our eye off that ball we must continue addressing the addiction problem we have in this country.”

While these opioid deaths are falling, according to the CDC, deaths from other stimulants like cocaine and meth are continuing to still rise.

Cocaine related deaths rose 5% and deaths from meth rose 2%.

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